Canto 24 Summary and Analysis
Vanni Fucci from Pistoia: A thief; a runner from the serpents in the trench; predicts the future to hurt Dante
The poets continue their journey. Dante is glad when Virgil’s anger cools and they can continue the journey in a more pleasing manner. Virgil continues to help Dante and to give advice as they go; Dante heeds his recommendations.
In looking down into the pit, the two see only blackness. Dante suggests descending further so that he can look below. When they are finally able to see in the chasm of the seventh trench, the two see serpents of all types. Naked shades run terrified in their midst; the hands of these runners are tied behind their backs with snakes; the heads and tails of these snakes writhe at either side of the runners. One runner is stung and burns to ashes. His ashes resume his former state and he comes to talk with the two travelers.
The shade describes to Virgil and Dante the life he led as a beast instead of a person. The runner, whose name is Vanni Fucci from Pistoia, admits his shame at being found in this place and of his sins of stealing. Fucci predicts that Pistoia will change from the Blacks and that a new political party will take over the cities of Florence and Pistoia. Then he mentions that Mars shall bring “vapor” and the result will be a blow against the Whites. He readily admits that he tells Dante this to break Dante’s heart.
Discussion and Analysis
Dante knows Virgil well enough to be able to identify the emotions that the guide is experiencing. Virgil and Dante move closer to the pit to see what lies in the gloom and they see thieves cast among serpents.
Vanni Fucci confesses his shame and sin at being caught. This creeping thief Fucci is like the creeping serpent. Fucci tells them of the coming battle in which the Whites of Florence will assist the Whites of Pistoia in ousting the Blacks from Pistoia. He refers to a battle in which the Blacks are led by the vapor stack (Moroello Malaspina), the Lord of Lunigiana in the Valdimagra. Fucci tells Dante that Mars (the God of War) shall bring new battles and that the Whites shall be overcome.
To push the insult further, Fucci admits that he is sharing this information to hurt Dante. His information is like the bite of an adder.